5. Fight and Flight

While I spent a week alone in that remote cabin, the events that ensued could only be described as inexplicable.  I would soon come to realize that my ex-husband was not the person that he purported to be.  From somewhere in his past was emerging an insidious nature and I would come to the realization that I must oppose him.

My mind kept returning to the magazine article, as I tried to keep busy in the cabin.  I hadn’t spoken to my ex about it, because I was afraid of his response.  I found that I wasn’t very hungry and just ate the bare minimum to placate my hunger.  It was also getting harder to sleep, as my anxiety was building up.  If one rape event could cause so much psychological damage, what about the ones that I had tried to bury, not to mention several near-rape scenarios that I had wrangled my way out of.  Why was I such a target?  The duality of my upbringing to be chaste while being forced to accept rape had conditioned me to be submissive and interfered with my ability to make rational decisions.

Then I thought of my ex’s strange conduct.  There was the deer horn carving, the isolated location, the gopher bones and tail, the frequent trips away, his ex’s trip to a voodoo ceremony, and now the gym membership.  It was spelling out something very treacherous and fear started to set in.  I finally realized that I could no longer trust the man, and that I had to confront him with some questions.

One afternoon, as I was reflecting upon some of the unsound decisions I had been making throughout my life to date, I made a commitment to myself to stand up for myself.  It had suddenly occurred to me that I had placed myself in the position that I was in, because I had always been afraid of conflict.  That decision to fight back brought with it the courage I needed to face my ex.

By the time my ex returned from his latest jaunt to an undisclosed location, I was very agitated. To my surprise, his eyes were no longer blue, but were a sickly grayish color with little dots on them. I questioned him about his destination, who he was with and why he kept leaving me all alone.  He failed to give me any explanation but, instead, started to throw accusations back at me.  As I continued to argue, he went to bed and fell asleep.  I was also very tired, but I couldn’t stand to be with him.  I sat at the kitchen table and continued to make plans to leave him.

As I got up from the table to cross the room, I suddenly had the thought that someone was there in the room with me.  I looked around, but I didn’t see anyone.  Then I felt someone pushing me down on the floor.  There was a weight pressing down on my shoulders that made me buckle my head down with bent knees.  As that presence continued its downward thrust, I remembered how I had earlier made a commitment to fight.  So, I pushed back against whatever it was that was forcing me to the floor.  I could feel a strong resistance as I kept pushing myself back up onto my feet.  I remember saying out loud: “I will not give in.  I will fight you!”  At that instant the force released and I stood up quickly.

From the bedroom I heard my ex call out.  As I entered the room, I saw that he was lying awake and looking at me in confusion.  I told him that he had better change his ways, or he would slide into the abyss.  I tried to pull him toward me, but he moved away from me, to the other side of the bed, where he started to slide off to the floor.  His forehead was furled up in confusion.  I remember going to the window to crack it open, but there was a loud whistling wind, so I closed it.

That night I barely slept at all.  After my encounter with what I could only perceive as an unseen force, I was shaken.  When my ex awoke, I reviewed the events of the previous night with him over breakfast. His forehead was furled up, like during the night, and I couldn’t stand to look at his gray spotted eyes.  I asked him: “Who are you? You’re not my husband, so who are you?”  He would only look at me in confusion.  He kept going back into the bedroom to sleep.

In the late afternoon my ex announced that he was going to town and that he would be back in a few hours.  When I demanded to know where he was going, was it to the gym, he refused to respond.  Instead, he just looked at me with those mottled gray eyes.  Again, I asked him who he was, but he turned and started down the stairs to the back door.  I called to him to stop, so that we could talk, but he kept going down the stairs.   I grabbed the hanger from his coat and pleaded with him to come back in and answer my questions.  As I grabbed his shoulder, he turned around and pulled hard on my sleeve. I lost my balance and slid on the stairs.  I banged the back of my head and, for the first time in my life, I saw stars.  This took me by surprise, and I gasped for him to leave me alone.  He gave me another blank stare from those gray eyes, then left the house without speaking.

Although I had been in situations where I was afraid of being injured or punished by my abusers, right then I became terrified for my life.  Suddenly I felt that whatever ominous presence had possessed my husband was going to kill me when he returned.  So I panicked and started throwing together some personal belongings to take with me.  I hastily packed a few clothes and some of my university notebooks into a boarding bag and slipped the hundred dollars into my purse.  I dressed as warmly as I could and headed out the door.

As I pushed through the thigh deep snow along the side of the property to eliminate my tracks from plain view, I couldn’t think of any other way to elude my ex than to ask one of the neighbors for help.  If I kept walking down the road, he was likely to spot me upon his return to the cabin.  I crossed the road and trudged over the snow to the front door of a neighbor that I had never actually seen or spoken with before.  When the man opened the door, he looked very surprised to see me standing there and called to his wife.  They asked me to come inside and sit down, as I explained to them that I was very afraid of my husband that I needed to know if they could give me a ride to the bus station in town.  After about 20 minutes, another man arrived at the house and the neighbors said that he was going to town and would give me a lift.  I was starting to feel very uncomfortable about these people, who seemed to be taking too long to decide what they were going to do.  They all had enlarged pupils, which I found very strange.  I was, however, more afraid of my ex during those moments, so I accepted the 20-mile ride to 100 Mile House.

On the way in the car the stranger talked about his family and how much they enjoyed living in the area.  He asked me if I was certain that I wanted to leave my husband, and I nervously explained that I was afraid that he was going to hurt me.  When we arrived at the bus station at 7 o’clock, it had already closed.  Without waiting for him to suggest another destination, I asked him to drive me back to a motel that was a few blocks away on the main highway.

When I walked up to the motel desk, the manager came to greet me.  Again his pupils were dilated.  I didn’t know what that meant, but it really gave me the creeps.  I paid him and took the key to my room.  Once inside, I felt better.  The next morning I would take the bus to Vancouver and safety.  I was exhausted.  Then I remembered that I hadn’t eaten since lunch and it was already 10:00 p.m.

Across the highway was a convenience store with blue paint framing its doorway.  I pulled on my coat and boots to go over to find something to eat.  Inside the store the clerk said hello as I walked to the back of the store to find a drink in the cooler.  Then I noticed a bunch of teenagers enter the store together. They greeted the clerk and started looking intently at merchandise on the shelves.  I looked at each of them and realized that they were actually watching me.  This greatly disturbed me as walked over to the clerk to pay for some mini-donuts and orange juice.

As I was paying the clerk, I noticed that his pupils were also dilated.  The alarm bells went off.  I asked him pointblank: “What are all these people here for?”  His response was that they were doing inventory.  I said that I didn’t believe that they would actually be doing inventory at 10:00 at night.   He then asked me to step outside for a moment.  I was only too glad to go outside, as I thought he was going to help me understand what was happening.

Once outside in the parking lot, the clerk started to yell at me: “We saw you last night, beating up on your husband!”

“What do you mean?  How could you possibly know anything about my husband and me?  How could you see me last night?  We were home by ourselves!  I’ve never seen you before!”

The clerk yelled back: “We saw you beating up on your husband and you won’t get away with it!”

Suddenly I froze in my tracks.  This couldn’t be happening!  I turned and looked straight ahead as I walked back across the highway to the motel and locked the door to my room.  Whatever dark force was after me, my ex was either in on it, or the entire town was possessed and was causing his strange behavior.  At that moment I had no idea what I was going to.  I only knew that I had to get out of that place.

By Gloria Romlewski Posted in Blogroll

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